Employee retention is a regular pressure for nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately, turnover is occurring much more often. With the lack of funding and potential growth, it often makes it difficult for employees to stay with the organization. This turnover is, unfortunately, not only limited to a variety of employees, but management as well. A leadership transition for a nonprofit is not only terrifying, but it’s also risky.

Despite this however, statistics from a study done in in 2013 suggest that a half-million executives could exit their positions in the next 15 years.

As a leader stepping down, you obviously want the best for your company, whether you’re moving forward because you feel like it’s your time to go, or because your company needs someone with a different set of experiences. Either way, there are some things you can do as you transition out in order to help them flourish. Here are just a few suggestions.

Leadership Transition

As the leader of the nonprofit, it’s likely that both your staff and stakeholders are going to look to you for how to react to this new change. It’s important that you set the right tone for this movement forward, focusing on all of the benefits of change for your company, instead of the negatives of your leaving. The more enthusiastic and willing to collaborate you are, the more they will be.

Think to the Future

It is very common during a leadership transition for people, yourself included, to merely think about someone who could replace you. That usually means finding someone who shares all of your positive qualities. However, this transition gives you the opportunity to find someone that will bring the company into the future. This may mean finding someone with different strengths or skills than your own. Analyze where you want the company to go, and what kind of person would get you there. That will give you a much more accurate job description for your future candidates.

Leadership Transition

Find Your Role

It is very common during a leadership transition for people, yourself included, to merely think about someone who could replace you. That usually means finding someone who shares all of your positive qualities. However, this transition gives you the opportunity to find someone that will bring the company into the future, which may mean that they hold some different strengths or skills than you do. Analyze where you want the company to go, and what kind of person would get you there. That will give you a much more accurate job description for your future candidates.

Don’t Necessarily Abandon Ship

After the transition is said and done, what do you do? You’ve likely spent a number of years nurturing this company, and now you’re done with it? For some this may be a large stress relief, for others they may still want to be involved. Think about the option of being a senior advisor for your new president, if they are accepting. This would give the option of helping out, without being the actual one in charge.

Change is difficult in general, but even more so when you’re changing leadership of a nonprofit. However with these steps, you can make the transition easier both for the company, and for yourself.

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